Beef And Vegetable Couscous

Beef and Vegetable Couscous with Grilled Lamb Skewers
Barbie must be wondering why mother and son took turns today asking her how she managed to drive her Maserati in those really high heels. She just waved her hands to indicate that it was a piece of cake. If I had known that my idiot of a son would have asked her the same question at a different moment, I would have kept my big mouth shut.
I couldn't recognise her immediately today actually as she was surrounded by toddlers and looked really maternal. I was right when I said that she seemed like a really nice person. Anyone this kind to children couldn't be bad. I wished I was one of those babies actually as she was emptying her lovely bag to let them play with whatever she had in it and of course I was dying to see what she had.
Some of you I know are enjoying this. We can all be so bored in these Summer months in the middle of a 2nd year in crisis. I would have liked to drive the MIL somewhere today, but since we've already paid for her entries to the pool, it would be a pity not to go there. Time really does fly, she has been here nearly a month now, can you believe it?
I drove in and out of the house today trying to manage the cooking of tonight's dinner : Beef and Vegetable Couscous. Even with a really good piece of meat, it'll take at least 2 hours to cook it and I just couldn't find that time to keep the fire on and not risk burning the house down through forgetfulness. Anyway, I made it and the family was happy since they love couscous. Really heart it.

Vegetables just-added
Beef and Vegetable Couscous :
Olive oil800g Beef (e.g. Codone from the thighs, cubed largely)2 Tsp ground Black Pepper1 Tsp ground Paprika2 Tsp ground Coriander1 Tsp ground Turmeric1 Tsp ground Cumin1/4 Tsp ground Nutmeg1 Tsp ground Ginger1 Onion pricked with 6 whole Cloves4 Garlic cloves (sleeves on, just bashed)2 Cinnamon sticks1 Tsp Mustard seeds2-3 dried Bird's eye Chillies2 Bay leaves (tear them into smaller pieces)2 Tsp concentrated Tomato paste2-3 Tsp Ras el HanoutBeef stockChickpeasVegetables (e.g. fennel, carrots, turnips, zucchinis, red peppers...cut into large chunks)Fresh Coriander leavesHarissa
Couscous grainsHot waterOlive oilSalt and Pepper to tasteButter
I used my Le Creuset pot for this. Heat up a generous amount of olive oil in the pot and brown the onion, garlic, cinnamon and mustard seeds. Add the bay leaves and chilli.
The beef should be marinated beforehand with the ground spices. Add the meat to the fragrant oil to be browned. Add the ras el hanout if you have it.
Stir in the tomato paste and mix well with the meat. Pour in enough hot beef stock to cover the meat. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for an hour.
Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 30 minutes. Then add the vegetables and cook till the meat is tender (at least another 30 minutes).
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. For a hotter sauce, add a bit of harissa.
For the couscous, I use 1 cup of grains to 1 cup of hot water. I would have added some salt, pepper and olive oil (and even a bit of ajwain seeds) to the dry grains before adding the hot water. Let the grains soak up the hot water for a minute or 2, then microwave them on high for 2 minutes. Stir in some butter and more olive oil and fluff the grains with a fork - separate the lumps.